Local non-profits are teaming with the San Francisco 49ers and Blue Shield of California to address the issue of domestic violence. The In It To End It fitness challenge serves a dual purpose for local domestic violence agencies. Not only does the event raise money, but it also raises awareness about help for domestic violence victims.
“We’re still living in a time that our traditional means of reaching victims isn’t available to us. We would be going out to churches and going into schools, and going out to community events and libraries, to be able to make sure victims knew we were available to help,” said Beth Williams, Director of Development for Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence. “Having an event such as this [allows] us the opportunity not only to engage with people to try and raise some money, but it’s primarily to create that awareness.”
“Our long-time partners, Next Door Solutions and La Casa de las Madres, and three other prominent Bay Area organizations that provide shelter and support for the victims of domestic abuse have seen a devastating increase in reports of violence as a result of sheltering in place,” said 49ers Director of Community Relations, Stacy McCorkle. “The 49ers are committed to supporting the work of these lifelines that victims depend on. By supporting In It To End It, we hope to increase the awareness of their programs that can help bring women to safety and literally save lives.”
Many local agencies say they need is larger than ever. During the pandemic many victims were trapped with their abusers and had to find new ways to ask for help.
“What we were seeing was that these victims were being sheltered in place with their abuser. They were fearful of reaching out to us because they were going to be overheard,” said Williams. “Victims are reaching out to us in new ways…all of a sudden, we had victims reaching out to us through social media. I had more people reaching out for help through like Facebook messages in the last 15 months than I had the previous four years.”
The In It To End It fitness challenge runs through the entire month of July. To participate, visit www.nextdoorsolutions.org/bayagainstabuse. Registration is just $25. Participants will be entered into a drawing for several prizes including Kendra Scott jewelry, gift cards or an autographed 49ers football.
“What our ultimate goal is, is to capture the mileage that it takes from the northernmost tip of the Bay Area to the southernmost tip, which for us is down in Gilroy, and to be able to accrue enough miles through everyone’s fitness to say, ‘Yes, we have committed to covering and exercising across the entire Bay Area against abuse.’ That’s the ultimate goal. To be able to say, ‘From north to south, we’ve got the miles covered in support for victims of violence.’” said Williams.
The money raised will be used to help victims of domestic violence. Williams says women aren’t the only ones to experience abuse. Men, teens and members of the LGBTQ community are also invited to reach out for help.